You have probably had the experience while shopping of stumbling upon the perfect necktie or coffee pot only after you have bought and paid for another. The phenomenon is well known to writers as well. Indeed, it is something of a rule of thumb that a researcher will find the perfect ornament for his argument only after he has made it. In a recent talk at the American Philosophical Society I touched briefly upon the catastrophes that befell London in 1665 (the Plague year) and 1666 (year of the Great Fire). These events launched an epidemic of apocalyptic terror among the general populace, and an orgy of superstition that one would more easily attribute to the Age of Savonarola than to that of Newton. (See, after buying of course, The Dark Side of the Enlightenment, p. 53.)
The career of Lord Leverhulme—Hulme being the family name of his wife—can be traced through the bookplates in my volumes of Huxley. There are three of them—the first on the inner board, the second and third on the recto and verso of the fly leaf. He began (1) simply as W. H. Lever, Thornton Manor, Thornton Hough, Cheshire. But when he was knighted in 1911 he naturally recorded his new style (2): Sir W. Hesketh Levert, Baronet. He came up with a fine cock-a-doodle-doo heraldic device and a suitable Latin Motto: Mutare Vel Timere Sperno—I disdain to change course or be fearful. When he was elevated to the peerage (3) a couple of elephants with Tudor rosettes joined the rooster, for the former humble Mr. Lever was now a Viscount, “Baron Leverhulme of Bolton-le-Moors.” For the past several decades, the book has been back in the hands of commoners (4), and any commoner with his own printing press can make his own baronial bookplate.